›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (6): 991-1004.doi: 10.1007/s11442-013-1058-y

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Carbon emissions trends with optimal balanced economic growth of China and the USA and some abatement options for China

WANG Zheng1,2, ZHU Yongbin1, PENG Yongming2   

  1. 1. Institute of Policy and Management, CAS, Beijing 100190, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Geographical Information Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2013-03-21 Revised:2013-05-29 Online:2013-12-15 Published:2013-11-14
  • About author:Wang Zheng (1954-), Ph.D and Professor, specialized in economics of climate change. E-mail: wangzheng@ casipm.ac.cn
  • Supported by:

    National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2012CB955804; National Science Foundation of China, No.41201594; CAS Strategic Priority Research Program, No.XDA05150502


It is believed that the global CO2 emissions have to begin dropping in the near future to limit the temperature increase within 2 degrees by 2100. So it is of great concern to environmentalists and national decision-makers to know how the global or national CO2 emissions would trend. This paper presented an approach to project the future CO2 emissions from the perspective of optimal economic growth, and applied this model to the cases of China and the United States, whose CO2 emissions together contributed to more than 40% of the global emissions. The projection results under the balanced and optimal economic growth path reveal that the CO2 emissions will peak in 2029 for China and 2024 for the USA owing to their empirically implied pace of energy efficiency improvement. Moreover, some abatement options are analyzed for China, which indicate that 1) putting up the energy price will decrease the emissions at a high cost; 2) enhancing the decline rate of energy intensity can significantly mitigate the emissions with a modest cost; and 3) the energy substitution policy of replacing carbon intensive energies with clean ones has considerable potential to alleviate emissions without compromising the economic development.

Key words: economic growth, emissions projection, abatement options